If you are reading this post, I believe you know how important media releases are to get your businesses or projects to the media.
This post will use PR expert Andrea Holland’s Lynda video and other extra sources as the references to to create the guideline.
The basic structure of your media release is:
- Subhead/Lead paragraph
- First paragraph in the body copy
- First quote: Introduction of speaker before direct quote
- Second quote
- Boiler Plate
And also add date and ‘media release’ phrase to let readers know what piece of content they are reading
Before you write a media release, you need to determine what purpose your news is.
Outline your media release
Define your news and your objective (one and only one). Ensuring your scope is not too big or general, but not too narrow, specific or has no room for a story. And importantly, finding why your news have to be told and which aspect(s) should focus on. To tell the story in media release effectively, you should use the inverted pyramid writing technique, beginning with the most to the least important information to quickly give the readers what the news is about.
Here are a couple questions to find out:
- What is your purpose? Be specific. It may be used to resolve your problems or to bring any opportunities
- What are you announcing? More information is a better result
- Who are you writing for? It is your target audience.
- What do you want them to know? Usually this is your key message
- What is your writing genre you should use?
If the journalists know why it is different, why people should care, and why they should write about it after reading your media release, you are on the right track.
Enhance your media release’s visual
You need to gather multi-media assets with visual elements such as logo, photos, videos and infographic will help your media releases to be noteworthy. The recent reports from PR Newswire, the media release with visual elements has higher views than the text-only one.
Begin drafting your headline
An ideal headline of a media release is short (around 7 words – so makes every word count), factual (this is key), descriptive and interesting, and straight forward to capture people’s attention for reading more. Importantly, headline must be a complete sentence. This means a verb recommended in active voice must also be contained in the headline.
Headline must be written in large font and bold, as well as keep it in one line of text. Moreover, abbreviations, acronyms and exclamation marks should not be placed in the headline. If possible, you may include SEO phrases to boost the search visibility, but not necessary.
Writing a headline should be done first as it will guide the rest of the content you plan to put in the body of the media release. In some cases, the easiest way to write a headline is temporarily drafting it, and then, rewrite it after you write the body of media release.
Writing subhead/lead paragraph
Subhead or lead paragraph usually extends the idea or information in the headline. The simple way to understand it is this is the part that you will put any extra information if your headline is too long.
Subhead/lead paragraph must also be written roughly 30 words in active voice and the readers should be given the senses of who, what, when, why and how. So, two lines of text are maximum. If it is used for subhead, it should be written in italic and Include the organisation name and geographic location in case that the title does not have room for them. Otherwise, it is written like other paragraphs in the body.
You should be aware that subhead/lead paragraph will set the tone and news value or angle for the entire media release, so it will takes your time and carefulness to write this paragraph. This is your most ideal place for SEO phrases to boost the search visibility and strategically expand the title.
The body of content
The rest of your media release will be given here. It includes location, quote, trend tie-in and call-to-action.
Each paragraph should only be one sentence, the next paragraph build on and extend the idea from the previous one, and tie strongly to the lead. The first paragraph in the body (subhead/lead paragraph does not count as a first paragraph) will be closely relevant to the subhead/lead paragraph.
The next paragraph will introduce the speaker before directly quoting.
The quote support the media release objectively and provide the insight and tell a story connecting to the audience. This should be given by a creditable person in the organisation or within the industry and must have his/her permission for media approved statements. So, statements given can be reliably quotable for media.
Importantly, PR practitioners will usually draft the statements first to fit the context and then, those quotes will be edited to fit the true voice of the person giving the quotes.
The quote is extremely useful to build the heart of the brand via the quotes and can sell the story to the public. To increase the creditability of your media release, you may consider to get quotes from a maximum of two different people, one must be from your main stakeholder and one may be from the industry or a happy client, customer or audience (in other word, a testimonial quote). And again, introduce speaker before direct quote is necessary.
As a recommendation, quotes should be able to write in advance before the body of content because they may sum up the key message of the whole media release.
Trend tie-in is the answer for the question why this topic is trendy, currently popular and important right now. This part perfectly fits for any recent studies, statistics, or current events relevant to your media release.
This paragraph is where you tell your readers what to do next. It may ask the readers click to the link to watch/read more or do something you wish.
This part is all about you and your organization, which is also known as positioning statement. Although boiler plate is about you and your organization, it should be objectively written. Organisational key message, hyperlinks which allow readers to find any additional information about your topics and organisation, and also the key media contact person if possible.
Media Release Template
Subhead or Lead paragraph
Introduce speaker before direct quote #1
Body copy (Trend tie-in)
Introduce speaker #2 before direct quote or quote #2 of the same speaker
Quote directly or paraphrase the quote
Body copy (Call-to-action)
About [your organisation] (Boiler Plate)
Hyperlink to corporate news room (media kits, images, videos and etc.)
For further information, please contact:
[The contact person]
Or [Name of person]
The media release should not be longer than 2 pages. The second page should include the title as slugline which is an excerpt of the headline written in bold in the left corner. If the media release is only one page, the further information section must fit perfectly in the same page. Signals for the second page and ending are also considered to make the media release easy to read.
To read an example of a good media release, click here
I hope you can start writing your media release for the projects you are working on to appeal the public.